Talk about life issues with your kids

by | Parenting with Courage

How much time do you think parents spend talking to their children in a day?  It’s less than you think.  Some statistics indicate that many parents spend less than 7 minutes per day engaging in meaningful conversation with their children. It’s not about how many hours you are in each other’s presence, but actually interacting together.

Do you take time to hear what is going on in their lives?  Do you put your phone or laptop down so that you can give them some undivided attention?  I’m guilty of listening with half an ear while cooking dinner, typing on my laptop or distractedly doing something else instead of turning around and focusing on them.

Tell your children that you love them.

Tell it to them often enough so that they really know it and believe it.  Why this reminder?  Well, once again, I’ve been struck by how unpredictable life is.  My teenagers have been affected by a peer that took his life recently.  The community is still reeling from the news, and for those close to him, their lives have tilted off its axis.  Life isn’t as stable as these teenagers once thought it was.  I’ve also just recently heard some news about a mom losing her baby after giving birth and of young and old battling cancer.  Life is unpredictable.  If you are a parent, tell your children you love them and make a point of doing it EVERY day!

Grief and teens

How do you help your child grieve the loss of a family member or a peer?  My Dad (and my children’s grandfather), passed away last year. I know first hand that grieving is also unpredictable. How do you have conversations about mental illnesses such as depression or even discuss suicide with your kids? I was so thankful that the school provided resources for the parents and invited trained counsellors to assist the scholars through this tragedy.  This is what you can do:  Learn more on how to help your help teenagers deal with grief by reading up about it yourself, and be sure to work through your own pain too.

So, tell your children and that you love them and don’t stop. Talk to them, let them roll their eyes at you and hug them.

It is easy to allow fear to override our lives when we hear tragic news like this.  You don’t need to be afraid as you raise your children.  Sometimes our children don’t always tell us what’s really going on, but we can still ask them questions and love them.  We can also pray.  Now more than ever, we need to intercede for the lives of our young ones and for their futures.

You, their parent, are still their primary influence, so continue to build a relationship with your teenagers.  Don’t let them push you away.  Encourage your children to talk to you openly about mental illnesses and help remove the stigma associated with that.

Talk to your children about all sorts of topics

If you don’t talk to your teenagers about difficult issues, they are not likely to speak to you.  The reality is that if you don’t talk to your teenagers about things that might make you blush, or sad, or scared, then how can you expect them to come to you.  With the plethora of information out there, easy access to the internet, they will get the information that they are seeking.  Through you talking to them about these topics, you are sure of the source and values behind the input.

YOU can be the trusted source and the calming influence in their lives. Guide them through the turbulent waters of their teenage years.  Be their rudder and their safe place.

“HOW DO I START TO TALK TO MY KIDS ABOUT THOSE SCARY TOPICS?”

If you decide to plunge into discussions about depression, porn, relationships, technology or any other hot topic, then apply this tip.

  1. Skill yourself about the topic you are about to talk to your teenager about.
  2. Pick the length of two songs to have that conversation with your child.  No child likes to be lectured.  Be brief, informative and inviting of questions or discussion.
  3. After the discussion (even if it is mostly one-sided), carry on with life as usual such as offering to make them a cup of tea or sandwich.

Keep on encouraging your children to talk and don’t give up!  The investment into their hearts and lives is worth the effort.  Oh and don’t forget to tell them that you love them!

 

If you have any questions on how I talk to my children, please email me hello@mandihart.net or drop a comment below!

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